Wallonia has an important and dynamic food industry
Generating turnover of € 7.6 billion and employing 21,000 people, the food industry is the 2nd largest industrial employer in Wallonia.
Since 2000, it has posted average annual growth of 4% of its production, which puts it in the upper half of the European average.
The sector also has a strong growth potential in promising markets and is the world leader in some of them: ingredients, healthfood, ready meals, specific products and high quality local produce…
The agrifood industry: the key figures
||% Walloon industry
Wagralim, the Walloon agrifood cluster
As part of the Marshall Plan, Wagralim , the agrifood cluster, was created to shore up the competitiveness of companies and to boost business and jobs in the sector thanks to the following actions:
- Nurture relations between industrialists/coordinate the network;
- Develop a culture of innovation/guide members through the setting up of their projects;
- Improve the profitability of the various channels;
- Increase the cluster’s international visibility, as well as that of its members and of international projects and partnerships;
- Carve out a place for companies on growth markets/offer members services that meet their needs and that improve their competitiveness.
In order to achieve these aims, the sector’s industrialists have defined 4 strategic priorities that serve as a guiding line for all the cooperation projects between companies and partners in the Wagralim cluster:
- “Health” foods: development of products and ingredients that make nutritional and/or health claims.
- Innovative production or preservation technologies: promotion of the development of products obtained from production or conservation techniques (that can call on alternative technologies), with a view to preserving the organoleptic qualities, increasing product lifetime and reducing the use of additives.
- Promotion of the development of food-safe organic packaging, made from renewable and biodegradable sources.
- Encouragement for the sustainable development of the food industry: efficiency of the production processes and sustainable management of the inputs and sub-products.
The Cluster’s partners mainly include companies, scientists (universities, research centres, etc.) and training institutes. At present, 40 industrial partners (including 19 SME) are project members as well as 31 scientific players.
Other entities also do their bit to reinforce this network, such as industry federations (Fevia Wallonia), bodies that promote innovation or consultancies.
The projects supported and financed by Wagralim relate to research and innovation, investment or training. The amounts set aside for all the projects amount to date to € 55.3 million, € 38.3 million of which from the public purse (funding by the Walloon Region).
The projects that come under the Research & Innovation category are directly linked to the 4 strategic development priorities.